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Written with assistance from Linda Zhou
For the past seven years, the Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy, Massachusetts has hosted English Talk Time for English Language Learners. Program participants, 150 students as well as part-time library staff and a crew of dedicated volunteers, sometimes frequent the library’s art gallery space, using the current exhibition as a starting point of discussion.
This winter, Talk Time took the role of art in English language development to a new level. Talk Time volunteer Linda Zhou explained that while art was a source of personal fulfillment for many of the students, none had yet imagined the source of empowerment it would soon become, working together as a group. Talk Time applied to host its first show in the gallery, and once it was accepted, Linda and the students designed the winter term’s curriculum around an art exhibition that featured Talk Time students as artists, curators, gallerists, and event planners.
That means that students develop literacy skills around everything from the “vocabulary of art, project management, ballots [for a juried portion of the art show], marketing and PR, cataloging, and even bio blurbs about the artists,” Linda says. Students with an artistic background either created new work or reproductions, or brought pieces from their collections, while the other students learned how to interview their artist classmates, craft artist statements, write labels, and press releases. The show featured works by five student artists.
The response from the library and the wider Quincy community, which boasts a vibrant immigrant population, was “extremely supportive. We’ll do more innovative events in the future,” Linda says enthusiastically. She hopes to not only book space in the art gallery for another show, but to create a whole campaign around the idea of Talk Time Artistry. The show was an opportunity for all the students to feel like they “matter” and that “people will listen.”
To learn more about Talk Time Artistry at Thomas Crane Public Library, and to see more images of the exhibition, check out these resources:
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This post originally appeared on the LAIP in April 2016.
by Rebecca Dunn
With spring comes more daylight hours, which means we get to see our shadows more often over the next several weeks! There are many entertaining children’s books that explore light and shadows (see list below), but one standout storytime winner is The Black Rabbit by Philippa Leathers.
Rabbit finds himself in the company of a mysterious black rabbit that seems to follow him wherever he goes. He tries to run, swim, and hide from the large figure (it’s actually Rabbit’s own shadow), but the black rabbit is always at his heels. Little does Rabbit know that the black rabbit is more friend than foe. Both funny and a feel-good tale, The Black Rabbit is a storytime crowd-pleaser that serves as a terrific platform to discuss shadows with kids. After reading, take the book one step further and demonstrate with a flashlight how a shadow is made.
After reading about shadows, it’s project time! Making shadow puppets is a creative and interactive way to explore the art and science behind shadows. You can facilitate this project in two ways depending on resources available and age of kids you’re working with.
Option A: Leave all the above supplies on the table and allow kids to make their own puppets using what’s available. Invite them to draw images with white crayons, cut out their puppet shape, tape to a chopstick or skewer, and repeat until they have a cast of characters.
Option B: If you happen to have a younger crowd and access to an AccuCut machine, you can pre-cut shapes out of dark paper as a modification of this activity. Kids can color the cutouts or accessorize with whatever materials you have on hand, tape to a chopstick, and play!
Have flashlights readily available to bring puppets to life, or set up a stage by hanging a white bed sheet illuminated by a backlight. Setting up a stage for children to act out their own stories isn’t only a great way to stretch their imaginations and narrative skills, it also provides a model to caregivers on how they can create this type of stimulating play in their own home.
For tips on using and making shadow puppets in storytime, check out this post on So Tomorrow and for more shadow projects and programming ideas, be sure to visit this awesome post on Library Makers. Both blogs are fantastic storytime and project resources!
Additional Picture Books About Shadows:
If you’ve been inspired by Rebecca’s projects or have used her storytime plans at your library, we’d love to hear about it! Share your experience in the comments or on social media!
Rebecca Zarazan Dunn is a children’s librarian and a 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker. When she’s not having fun at the library or wrangling her own kiddos, she can be found at her blog home, Sturdy for Common Things.
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So far in our Filament Fridays we’ve concentrated on rigid filaments that leave you with hard parts. This week, things are getting squishy with NinjaFlex – the most popular of the flexible filaments. NinjaFlex was originally created by Frenner Drives, a company that specializes in belt drive systems. The Frenner team […]
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Today we bring you a long-overdue update on a sibling project of ours, The Book to Art Club!
First things first; the Book to Art Club can now be found at a new URL: http://ift.tt/2pGeEi6.
We are very pleased to report that the Club, now in its third year, boasts over 25 chapters with locations in 16 states and one Canadian province! Membership includes readers+makers of all ages and a variety of library types from academic to public to school libraries. Check out the Club’s member section to learn more.
I also need to give a major shout-out to Ann Miller, Makerspace Coordinator for Mead Public Library in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, who is doing much of the Book to Art Club website coordinating and updating. Make sure to check out the Book to Art Club blog to see some of the amazing projects inspired by books.
Interested in starting a Book to Art Club at your library? Check out the Guide section to get started. Are you interested in helping add to our featured titles section? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy making!
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This post and series originally appeared on the LAIP in April 2016.
by Allana Mayer
In early January 2016, I started a fundraiser for the Society of American Archivists Mosaic Scholarship, which was made to encourage diverse entrants into the field. I wanted to contribute, but didn’t have money to spare. Instead, I created a print-on-demand store with Society6 to sell items with designs I had made. Of course, I don’t have artistic skill, either, so I modified existing illustrations from the public domain.
I’m here to document what I did, in order to show how easy it is to get a shop up and running. The benefits for cultural heritage institutions are multiple: make some cash, promote your collections, enrich the world with beautiful vintage visuals, print your own art for your walls, and learn a new skill!
The process I employed to generate profitable clothes, home decor, phone cases, and a bunch of other cool stuff is pretty straightforward:
How It All Started
I browse the Flickr Commons pretty regularly, for images to illustrate articles and blog posts and sometimes just for my own amusement. When you look through the Commons these days, you’ll notice that a lot of the images shared are being generated through a robot that identifies images and illustrations in books uploaded to the Internet Archive. You’ll find that the generator will spit out a bunch of images from one book at a time. So, there I was browsing, and this image caught my eye:
I thought “That would look great on a t-shirt.” So I put it on one.
I followed the Commons image back to its source: a history book by John Ridpath from 1897, uploaded to the Internet Archive by the Mugar Memorial Library at Boston University. It’s an expansive text that covers science, the birth of man, and a chunk of (now rather pejorative) anthropological examinations of different cultures. Despite the racism, I found some of the chemistry and astronomy parts of the text truly charming, and the illustrations fantastic.
You, of course, will have a library collection to work from. You’ll have access to lots of public-domain materials in your special collections, and maybe even high-quality digitization tools to do your own image capture. But maybe not – maybe you’re in need of a fundraiser, or branded gifts for guest speakers or awards, and you don’t have any of these things. Don’t worry – the public domain is here for you.
If you want to do as I did, and work from only one book, you can use the tags auto-generated by the robot (whatever starts with “bookid”). If you’re going for a theme, the images are relatively well-described and searchable. If you’re really starved for ideas, try searching the Commons for “geometry,” “botany,” “anatomy,” or “astronomy” – those are always inspiring to me. Just remember: if you’re finding “Internet Archive Book Images” uploads, they’re of lower quality than the original scans, so follow the images back to their source on the Internet Archive.
In the next post, I’ll talk about what to do with the designs you’ve found; I’ll go through my own process step-by-step, so you can see how it works.
Check it out online:
Allana Mayer is an archivist, librarian, and freelance writer in Toronto. She has an undergraduate degree in cultural studies, and a graduate degree in library and information science. She researches and writes on all topics cultural-heritage but especially on art and media, digital preservation, copyright, scholarly communications, and technology for archives and archivists. | Twitter: @allanaaaaaaa | Blog: blog.allanaaa.com
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This year we have the distinct pleasure of hosting updates from Dr. Matt Finch, with whom we’ve worked on a number of LAIP features, as he serves as Creative in Residence at the State Library of Queensland, Australia. Matt’s visit with a class of new Occupational Therapy students demonstrates how, by bringing hands-on, participatory activities in place of a “traditional” library lecture, library staff can help students think about their studies in new ways.
by Matt Finch
The poor students, they didn’t know what hit them when the librarians came to town.
Two days into their careers as occupational therapists, they were facing the dreaded CMOP-E – one of the most complex and important theoretical diagrams for the course. Not only that, but the CMOP-E had taken the form of a large vanilla cake.
I was at Griffith University, on Australia’s Gold Coast, with occupational therapists – “OTs” – who had just begun their studies at the School of Allied Health Sciences.
The cake was the work of Amy Walduck, State Manager for the Queensland branch of Australia’s library association ALIA, and baker extraordinaire.
In an age when information technology grows increasingly sophisticated, when we can even speculate about learning languages just by eating a pill, then why shouldn’t we be using foodstuffs as a medium for information?
I’d worked with student occupational therapists before and noticed that even three years into their courses, some of them still struggled to remember the details of the CMOP-E, the Canadian Model of Occupational Performance and Engagement.
Invited on behalf of the State Library of Queensland to run activities for the opening week of the Occupational Therapy degree, I chose to give students the opportunity to physically consume the diagram – and then challenged them to create edible presentations based on their own workshop activities.
All this was only possible thanks to Professor Matthew Molineux and his colleagues at Griffith. Matthew’s a passionate advocate for occupational therapy, and one unafraid to challenge orthodoxies within his own profession. Working with him has shown us the potential for libraries, librarians, and the communities they serve to work more closely with OTs.
Although occupational therapy is an allied health profession, it goes beyond the medical model to explore broader notions of wellbeing. Matthew tells people that occupational therapists help people with the things in life they want, need, or have to do – or more formally, “Occupational therapists enable people to engage in all the activities that give their life meaning, meet their personal needs, and fulfill their obligations.”
Like librarianship, occupational therapy is a vocation which is sometimes misunderstood. Like librarianship, that might be in part because it is a profession with a female workforce in a patriarchal world; and while librarians have been pushing hard to change the public conception of their work as “shelves and shushing”, occupational therapists face a similar challenge in a world where their job title still elicits visions of convalescent homes, rehabilitation, and basket weaving.
Not that there’s anything strictly wrong with the latter: Matthew likes to ensure that his students get to try their hand at this old-school tool of the occupational therapist, and has also advocated for knitting as a source of wellbeing.
“Occupational therapy is artistic in a number of ways. First, working with people who are vulnerable requires a high level of interpersonal skills, and while you can develop these, expert practice requires an almost artistic approach. Second, every person is unique and so our work with clients can’t be approached as a recipe. Occupational therapists, therefore, need to creatively apply knowledge and skills to meet the individual needs of clients. Third, we have a long history of working with arts and crafts, but sadly those approaches have fallen out of favour in many practice areas. Some in the profession feel we need to rethink this lack of arts and crafts in our educational programs and practice.”
One of the benefits of occupational therapy with an artistic element is that it returns a sense of purpose and creative choice to the therapist’s client. Historically, some people have recalled courses of occupational therapy as humiliating physically challenges: a newspaper editor forced to rearrange a child’s set of plastic letters after a stroke, or an elderly woman pedalling a fretsaw with no saw or no wood. Matthew compares this aimless activity to the Australian penal colonies’ historical practice of “labour in vain”, where convicts were given futile and pointless tasks as punishment.
The client-centred and imaginative approach championed by Matthew and other OTs around the world resonates well with libraries’ increasing drive to empower the communities they serve and put choice in the hands of their users.
In activities we’ve run with Matthew and his team at Griffith University, student therapists have used their skills in bizarre scenarios ranging from treating a depressed immortal sock monkey to uncovering a conspiracy at the heart of a far-future paradise.
These might seem frivolous, but using play to explore the practical application of professional skills and values can help practitioners to understand how broadly applicable their talents are.
— GriffithOT (@GriffithOT) February 22, 2017
If a student therapist can arrive in a far future utopia and use their OT skills to uncover the truth behind the perfect society, then they should have no problem arguing for the relevance of occupational therapy in almost any real-world setting. And if librarians are the professionals who take people anywhere they want to go in the realm of knowledge and culture, then occupational therapists are their healthcare cousins, doing the same for equity of access to the daily activities we want, need, and have to do.
Matthew jokes about “world domination by occupational therapy”, believing that the lens through which his colleagues see the world could radically transform our global way of life for the better. That’s not so far from the dreams of equitable access to information and culture which underpin librarians’ finest impulses.
Matthew sees many opportunities for occupational therapists and librarians to join forces, especially with public and community libraries being encouraged to play a part in the health and wellbeing agenda. “I think there are lots of similarities or potential opportunities for collaboration but they are not yet at the forefront of people’s minds. Occupational therapy has a key role to play in healthcare, but we often don’t do as much as we could in working within the broader community.”
“I have fond memories from the ‘olden days’ of flicking through card indexes and sitting on the floor in the stacks surrounded by journals looking for literature! Libraries are now dynamic spaces located in the community in which a whole range of occupations take place and so I think we could really usefully work together.”
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This post originally appeared on the LAIP in April 2016.
This fun feature comes to us from Faith Lee, Reference Librarian at Falmouth Public Library in Falmouth, MA. Love how this community program led to a colorful art installation that all public library visitors can enjoy! ~Laura
The Library is Transformed with Kniffiti!
You have to see it to believe it. The library is bedecked with all sorts of colorful and whimsical creations made out of yarn graffiti, or “kniffiti” as rebel yarn crafters like to say. Wooden chairs sport crocheted and knitted covers with surprising textures and patterns, a seating area by a bank of windows has become an “aquarium” and Charlotte has spun a new web in the children’s department, and so much more!
Why did we do it? For fun, to stretch our creative muscles, to experiment with yarns and stitches we wouldn’t ordinarily use, to investigate our terrific collection of yarn crafting books at the library, to build community and bring some color to the library during the cold, gray month of March. About fifteen ladies met at the library every Saturday morning in January and February for a “Library Yarns” program. We created our projects out of yarn that was donated to the cause by generous local yarn lovers. On February 27 we installed our creations (it took more than two hours) for a one month display. The excitement was palpable.
Quiet library? Not on Saturday. We were having way too much fun transforming the library into a hotspot for creativity.
Read more in the Enterprise and watch this video update from Falmouth in Focus: